Rockford raising funds to honor World War II hero

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President Truman awarding John Sjogren the Medal of Honor

ROCKFORD, Mich. – The City of Rockford is launching a fundraising campaign to build a statue for a local World War II hero.

The city, along with retired Kent County judge Steven Servaas, are launching the campaign of a full-scale statue of Major John Sjogren, the only Congressional Medal of Honor Winner to come from Rockford.  The city is partnering with the Rockford Area Community Endowment to finance the $100,000 statue.  The city has pledged $10,000 as seed money and Servaas has committed $10,000 of his own.

According to a release from Michael Young, Rockford City Manager, Major Sjogren was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his services against the Japanese Army in the Philippines in 1945.  Despite being wounded, then Sergeant Sjogren and four other living members of his squad attacked up the hill on Negros Island until the Japanese defenders were beaten.  Sjogren is credited with killing 43 Japanese soldiers and destroying nine “pill boxes.”  Sjogren was awarded the medal by President Harry Truman on October 12, 1945.

When Sjogren returned to Rockford, the city designated September 14 as John Sjogren day and gave him a 1946 Ford Super Deluxe Sedan.

Sjogren also had a congenital spine issue and was originally ineligible for military service, but he appealed that decision and got into the army.

Donations can be made to the Rockford Area Community Endowment – John Sjogren Memorial Statue Fund at 7 S. Monroe Street, Rockford, Michigan 49341.  The city hopes to have the money raised and statue completed in time for what would have been Sjogren’s 100th birthday, on August 19, 2016.  Sjogren died in 1987.

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